Steven Davis is targeting some new silverware for his collection with the addition of the FA Cup this season.
Davis concedes there’s still some way to go before Saints can realistically think about a Wembley appearance in the coming months, but the team can take a step closer to that feat with a win over Sunderland in the Fifth Round of the famous competition on Saturday.
The Northern Irishman has enjoyed great success north of the border, with two Scottish Cup wins and three Scottish League Cup titles to his name, and hopes that any experience he can filter through to the current Southampton squad can benefit Saints in their bid for glory this year.
In English football however, the FA Youth Cup is the only honour that Davis holds and the 29 year-old is keen to improve on that.
“Unfortunately I haven’t had too much success in the competition to-date, but hopefully we can change that this year,” he told Saints Player.
“In the Youth Cup we went to the final with Aston Villa and won it so I have great memories of that especially at such a young age - getting involved in playing in front of big crowds, and the games at that age were a big bonus for us so it was a great occasion. As I say, hopefully we can put together a good run this season and go on to do well.
“I think any experience you get, you try to dig into and hopefully it can benefit you, but it’s a different ball game in each game – each one brings its own challenges, and as I say, Sunderland will want to try and keep their momentum going.
“In some ways maybe it’s a little break for them to take the pressure off and they don’t have to worry about the game too much in terms of their league position, so they can go out and play their own stuff without pressure. Both teams will be desperate to get through to the next level, and hopefully then we can dream.”
Davis believes that the FA Cup is a competition which is respected across the board by players and managers, but accepts that the opportunity to rotate teams is a bonus at any stage of the season.
“I think players are always desperate for success and there’s a great incentive there to go on and do well in the competition, but at the same time that’s what your squad’s there for,” he explained.
“We have people here playing who have been biding their time to get a chance, whilst the manager can decide to change things around to keep it fresh. I’m not sure what he’s going to do [in this round], but each and every one of us will be desperate to go out and play to get through to the next round.
“Every game you go into you want to win there’s no doubt about that,” Davis added. “You’ve got that drive to go on and get success, and for me, having had that success in competitions up in Scotland, there’s no better feeling than lifting a trophy and it would be great to achieve that down in England as well with Southampton, and there’s a real drive from us to want to go on and do well in this competition.”
Sunderland stand in the team’s way for a place in the quarter-finals, with this game the fourth meeting of the season between the two clubs. Saints didn’t beat the Black Cats in any of the previous three games, but Davis feels those experiences will stand the visitors in good stead this weekend.
“They’re probably sick at the sight of us, but it’s a good place to go and play your football away from home in front of a fantastic crowd, and I think there’ll be a real cup atmosphere and a good cup game to look forward to,” Davis highlighted.
“Earlier on in the season we drew with them at home and then we got beat up there in the cup competition in the league cup, then there was the league game where I thought we did well throughout the game and to come away with a draw we were really disappointed afterwards. Hopefully we can use that frustration and learn from the experience as well to our benefit and go up there and win this time.”